First I wanted to cut cable and go internet only, and then burn my music and DVD library so I can access it anywhere. Work sends me out of town semi regularly for weeks at a time, this way I only need WIFi at the hotel and my laptop.
I used an old HP Intel Core i3-2120 Processor PC I had replaced and decided to use it as a Plex media server. It was a machine that wouldn't allow any upgrades, so I was stuck with what it was and came with. It was upgraded to windows 10 but had weird quirks. I had added an external 4TB My Book drive in addition to the 1tb it came with. But it wouldn't let me stream and burn and do more than a couple things at one time without stopping to a slow crawl.
So when I started to research what I wanted, I first went to to plex and used their recommendations was on what roughly the CPU should be.
Using the http://cpubenchmark.net/ my HP had a benchmark of 3875 and in using the machine, 2 people couldn't stream at one time reliably at 640x480. If I had wiped the computer and did a fresh install and put on just the few programs I needed I probably would have had better results.
I wanted a PC that would fit in with my Audio receiver under the TV and didn't look like a standard PC.
The parts I chose are the -
I wanted Intel, 6Gbs SATA., PCI Express x16 slot, HDMI port and Micro ATX size to fit the type of case I had in mind.
Gigabyte LGA 1150 Intel B85 HDMI SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 Micro ATX Intel Micro ATX DDR3 1600 Motherboards GA-B85M-DS3H-A
For the CPU I went with the
Intel Core i5-4460 LGA 1150 CPU with a 6620 passmark. I had a few options, but looking at different CPUs, in a lot I would only gain maybe 1000 in the benchmark but the expense went up over $100 in cost of the CPU.
Since Plex is more CPU intensive, for memory I went with -
Kingston HyperX FURY 4GB 1600MHz DDR3 CL10 DIMM
So next I went with a SSD and Windows 10
Kingston Digital 120GB SSDNow V300 SATA 3 2.5 Solid State Drive. I only installed the Windows on this, the start up time is seconds now!
For storage of Plex, my ripping software and Playon I used a 1 TB drive-
WD Blue 1TB Desktop Hard Disk Drive - 7200 RPM SATA 6 Gb/s 64MB Cache 3.5 Inch - WD10EZEX
The case I went for the
Thermaltake Urban SD1 Micro Case CA-1A9-00S1NN-00 Black with Antec VP-450 Power Supply.
The case is really cool and it let me use an extra Ati Radeon hd 7700 xfx graphics card I already had. I then purchased a couple used DVD drives for $10 each from my local PC store.
Cost was about $650 plus what I already had on hand.
I have a Sony Str-DH750 receiver for my surround and it allows HDMI inputs from my graphics card. Since this is in my living room, I didn't want a normal PC keyboard/mouse and I had been using a Rii mini X1 2.4G wireless keyboard with touchpad which has been great. One of the things I didn't do was add a WiFi / Bluetooth card to the PC so for the keypad it uses a USB bluetooth adapter. The PC is connected by a cable to my network.
I also reused my external 4tb My book and an external LG BluRay player I got for my laptop. I'm about to add another 4tb drive to this.
Testing, I've had 2 friends stream, while I've been watching a movie and ripping two movies at the same time. None of us had any problems watching at 720x480. I have a few blurays but have only added a few at HD quality yet, so I don't know how mulitple people streaming them will do yet.
Where I'm at now is a library with 11000 songs and audiobooks, 1500 movies and 3000 TV episodes. I'm about a 3rd of the way through my TV shows and I really don't know how many I have left. When I get through, I plan on reripping my movies at the highest quality and sound, now that I can watch and store them with ease.